Chipotle to offer queso cheese at more than 350 restaurants starting next week

After years of lobbying, Chipotle super fans might have finally convinced the restaurant to add an elusive item to its menu.

During a call with shareholders on Wednesday, the chain's chief marketing officer said that Chipotle would begin offering queso at more than 350 restaurants in California and Colorado starting in August.

"We'll be rolling out queso to more than 350 restaurants across markets within Central and Southern California and Colorado beginning on August 1," Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle's chief marketing officer, said, according to CNN.

Crumpacker said that the restaurant would evaluate how consumers respond, and then decide whether they would roll the cheese sauce out nationwide.

 

 

Chipotle has famously never offered cheese sauce on its burritos, burrito bowls and tacos despite a strong online push from customers. Chipotle competitors like Qdoba and Moe’s have offered cheese sauce for years.

According to a 2016 article on Munchies, Chipotle has stated in the past that it has had trouble developing a queso recipe that fits its clean food philosophy.

"Queso is something that we do get requests for from time to time, but it's very difficult to do it in a way that is consistent with our food philosophy," Arnold told Munchies. "To make queso in a way that is stable on the service line pretty much requires artificial ingredients (such as stabilizers to keep its consistency). That's just not what we do."

However, it appears that the restaurant has finally cracked the code. According to an ingredient list, Chipotle's queso will not include any artificial flavorings or preservatives. 

"It was important to us to do this in a way that was true to our ingredient philosophy," Arnold said in an email.

A list of ingredients for Chipotle's queso can be viewed in the photo carousel above.

Chipotle originally announced it was testing quest at its NEXT Test kitchen in New York City earlier this month.

The move comes as Chipotle continues to bounce back from a series of E. coli and norovirus breakouts that sickened dozens of people in 2015 and 2016.

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.

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